This is my first time in therapy for anxiety. What can I expect?


Anxiety can take many forms.  If you get panic attacks, phobias, experience obsessive thoughts or worry all of the time, then it is possible that you have an anxiety disorder.  But don’t feel that you are in it alone.  There are many treatments available and one of these is therapy which will help you to control your fears.

Research shows that if you have anxiety, therapy works well.  Whether you are taking medication prescribed by your GP or not, therapy treats the cause, not just the symptoms. Your therapist will work with you to uncover the causes of your anxiety, showing you how to be less fearful and developing ways of coping.  Because no two clients are the same, your therapy will be tailored to suit you and how many sessions you need will depend upon severity and type of disorder.  For example, OCD will be treated differently than someone who has panic attacks.

What types of therapy will be used?

Many types of therapy can be used, either alone or combined.  Here are two of the most popular:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

This works by examining the way you look at the world and your negative thoughts and how they can trigger anxiety.  The concept is that it is your thoughts and not events that make you feel a certain way. If your perception is changed, so will your feelings and resultant anxiety. Negative thinking needs to be replaced with positive; you need to change the way you think.  You will begin by identifying your negative thoughts, challenging them and then replacing them with realistic and new thoughts.  If you have been thinking in a certain way for all of your life then it can take time to break the habit so you may be asked to practise CBT at home as well as in session.   The more used you get to thinking positively, the more natural it will become.

Exposure Therapy

When certain things make us anxious, it is natural that we want to avoid them.  The trouble is, by repeatedly doing this, your fears are strengthened. This can be overcome by gradually exposing you to the thing that you are fearful of; control will return and you will feel less anxious.  You will begin by totally relaxing, creating a list of the things you are afraid of and then working through the list; the aim is to stay with each worrying situation until panic subsides.  After that, you will be taken back to a state of relaxation and calmness by your therapist, ready to repeat the process again.

Is there a quick fix for anxiety?

Whilst there is no quick fix, you should not feel overwhelmed by your anxiety. Help is available and with time and patience, you can overcome it.  It may be hard at times and sometimes you may feel that progress is slow but by working with a therapist that you feel comfortable with and following their advice, you will win through.  The more you learn about anxiety and why your body and mind work in a certain way, the more powerful your therapy will become.  Knowledge is power and once you understand the problem, recovery is on the cards.  Your counsellor will also encourage you to work at your relationships with others because the more alone you are, the more your anxiety will feed on your feelings.  Even if you find it hard, try to keep in touch with friends or join support groups.  You are already sharing your thoughts and feelings with your therapist so try and do it with others close to you too.

Finding the right therapist

The better your relationship with your therapist, the more powerful the work between you will be.  If you are worried that you will not find the right therapist to help with your anxiety or simply do not have the time or resources to locate one, we can help. All you have to do is fill out the form on our website with your preferences and we will provide you with a list.  You can then run through the choices and get in touch with a suitable therapist that will work with you to overcome your anxiety problems.

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